THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași calancemadalina@yahoo.com Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59

INTRODUCTION

In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

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sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States. IV. the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. and the Swiss Federation. financial and international migration. as in the cases of Austro.” (p. as in United Germany and in North America. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. Furthermore. However. and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference". in external politics. Norway and Sweden. not only economical. which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures.Hungary. Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. The European Union understood this imperative. 1. Otherwise. 2012 25 . In both. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism. enlarging the area of nationality. was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states.co m CES Wo rking Papers. by facilitating trade flows. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality.interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . On the other hand. The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national cultures. That struggle. (1). a sociological or psychological perspective. Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. "identity" or "independence". at a global level.3) * www. In varietate concordia). the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated.britannica. Inevitably. According to the English economist John A. they always feel the need for distinction. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality. but socially as well.

seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude). or populism” (p. The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). 543). According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism.national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions. fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. are putting into question the power of the nation state. identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features.In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’. Many voices. nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. In times of austerity. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. p. ideas. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. CES Wo rking Papers. xenophobia. On the other hand. the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. IV. authoritarianism. xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. racism and xenophobia. the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. The supra. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects. by promoting chauvinism. the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. Supranational is normative. (1). At the end of the century.4). habits). With the European Union. as well. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. the national boundaries are redrawn. from the academic or the political field. to please the people of Europe. 2012 26 .

ethnic or historical backgrounds. Great Britain. Hungary. 2012 27 . and ultimately in the world as a whole. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. Fin land. CES Wo rking Papers. Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. gender. of the validity of a system of states in each region and continent. the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * . Republic of Montenegro. Ukraine. the national bond provides the most inclusive community. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. Cyprus. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. Slovak Republic. because of their omnipresence and universality. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. Socially. * † http://europa. Republic of Moldova. Austria. Belarus. race. Latvia. Armen ia. The Netherlands. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. Croatia.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. historical or ethnic references.). many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. Bosnia -Herzegovina. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural.” (p. Poland. Czech Republic.2. ”the nation and the national identity. Georg ia. Lithuania. (1). Therefore. Malta. Northern Cyprus. Den mark. Ro mania.htm Research aria: A lbania. Northern Ireland. religion. For Smith. Italy. Sweden. Kosovo. Bulgaria. Serbia. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. Swit zerland. Otherwise. Turkey. Ireland. IV. Estonia. Norway. Also. Republic of Macedonia. 144). France. etc. as well as in language. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world. Iceland. Greece. law. Belgiu m. Lu xembourg. in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. values and memories.eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. Slovenia. Portugal.national legitimacy’. 2. Russia. institutions and ceremonies. A zerbaijan. Spain. Germany (East/West). 144) .

the unemployment or the immigration. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense.org/) In 2008. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. As we can see in Figure 2. (1). due to important factors such as the global crisis. the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers. only a truly united Europe could protect its states national. IV. in times of recession. CES Wo rking Papers. historical and cultural identities. As we can see in Figure 1. historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the superpowers.For them. the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably. 2012 28 .gesis. Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%).

At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. Today. In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers.Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat.gesis. 2005). The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir.2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem. common space. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle. Furthermore. the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger. IV. with the EU consolidation. (1). it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs.org/) 2. 2012 29 . With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market.

CES Wo rking Papers. A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. In fact. In Europe. Therefore. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. as a result of integration. nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. Thus. and only few disagree with this assumptions. even within nation-states. IV. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space. the Hungarians in Transylvania). many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. (1).gesis.g.maintain strong links with the original community. Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology. as well. Instead of a uniform European society. 2012 30 .org/) About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market. As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4).

BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti. IV. Hungary. challenging the economy and the common currency.immigrant parties in Europe. Moreover. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy. which are anti-Islamist. the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas. the instability. or immigration. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers.org/) 2. The France National Front (FN). in Finland.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments.Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. We have the example of the ’29. the job losses. (1). True Finns party. exceeding 10 % (figure 5). Austria. They represent the voice of citizens. the inequality and poverty in developing countries.gesis. Denmark. 2012 31 . which are disrupted by the globalization. France or Belgium the rise of populist. that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party. the Netherlands. Sweden. xenophobic. Italy. In Finland.

that the European integration process should be reverted. in the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe. and that their national identities should be protected. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed. Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www. 2012 32 . in the past 3 years. (1).starfor. offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states. such as Hungary. seeking to complete the Romanian territory.co m) CES Wo rking Papers.. etc.co m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study.” In central Europe. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and Romanians. IV. they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate. Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www.and a strong opponent of the immigration.stratfor.

uk/news/world-europe-13115454. accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www. Kohn. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU.britannica. Hobson. In addition. the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy.org/. H. CERC Working Paper. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity.4-27. (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?.3. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. in times of massive immigration and crisis.bbc. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism. the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. A. Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. involving their habits and lifestyles.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties. IV. paradox and nationalist extremes. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. C. Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. (n. (1).J. New York: Cosimo Inc. as well. is expressed by targeting immigration. intolerance. (2005) Imperialism: A Study. providing tensions. CES Wo rking Papers. Of course.gesis. REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011). and rejection of the other. Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. No. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. available on BBC News Europe. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat. pp. Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. 2012 33 .com/EBchecked/topic/405644/nationalism. Today’s nationalism.d) Nationalism . A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations. Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values. Once again.co. Mudde. available at http://www.

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